Consolidation Days: A Waste of Time?

Mehr Singh Acting Co-Editor-in-Chief Exam week. This dreaded time never fails to haunt Latin students with anxiety and stress. It’s not only the four, or even, six exams approaching that worry students. It’s also how time can be managed most effectively so that every subject is reviewed for the appropriate time without wasting a minute studying the wrong thing. Consolidation days seem to catalyze this worry for Latin students. While consolidation days were made to help, most students feel like they are more of a burden. “I wish I could’ve stayed home and studied” is the standard complaint. Some may hear that and think nothing would ever get done being at home. However, with the enormous amount of material that can’t be covered during consolidation days, it might be more beneficial. Junior Stephanie Perlman mentions, “In class, the teachers don’t really know what to do. When they leave the decision up to the kids of what to review it becomes a bit chaotic. Each student has something different they want to cover and others who don’t share those questions feel like they are wasting their time.” It’s a tough balance both for students and teachers. Students don’t like teachers to structure the review, but when they get to choose the topics to review they still feel like they are wasting time. One argument is that teachers should structure the review with topics they think are most important, since they are, after all, the ones writing the exams. Another argument suggests getting rid of consolidation days and giving students the day off. Sophomore Jen Costa, in support of this idea, says, “I don’t really think many kids pay that much attention. Most people are anxious about exams and when they feel like they aren’t getting much out of the class periods they begin to lose focus.” The question then arises: Besides the actual topics discussed during class periods is there anything else that makes students not interested in consolidation days?  Junior Josh Goldberg brings up an interesting point that most students haven’t thought of, explaining, “I think the class periods aren’t long enough. The class periods don’t allow us to get as much done as we need to. Maybe spreading out long blocks over the two consolidation days would make them work better.” This idea might be the answer to making the actual class periods more effective. Of course, we might run into the problem of review for classes being on one day instead of both, and students thinking one day has “more important” long block classes than another, but that’s a whole other dimension to the issue. Taking many students’ opinions into account, the Student Academic Board actually created a proposal to make consolidation days more effective. SAB suggests, “The review days should be on Thursday and Friday like in second semester. Monday should then become a “reading” day. Teachers will be available to the students of their class during the scheduled time for the class. For example, if an English class meets during E block, then the teacher will be in the room during this time. He/she will be available to help the students of this class. During the teachers’ free periods, they will be available in their office to assist any students who may need help. This will allow students the opportunity to ask final questions they may have after their weekend of studying. If the student deems it unnecessary, they will not be required to attend the class.” This seems like a great solution, and parts of it could even be applicable to second semester. It allows students to participate in consolidation days, while also having an extra day for independent studying. Maybe considering Josh Goldberg’s idea to the proposal would be a good addition. While exams are now over for the year, students are excited for changes in the system next year. Junior Nicole Heckman mentions, “I think having effective consolidation days would help with review, but also relieve some time management anxiety from exams.” Even though, the actual exams will still be a cause for concern, with that little bit of stress relieved, exam time might not be as dreaded by students.  ]]>